Archive

Archive for April, 2011

PlayStation 3 PSN Blackout Update 2: Hack Me To Pieces

April 27, 2011 Comments off

It’s been confirmed by a SCEA’s Senior Director of Corporate Communications and our friends at IGN.com, the PlayStation Network has been compromised by unknown hackers targeting PSN users’ names, addresses, birth dates, PSN passwords and possibly even credit card information. Since PSN went offline on Wednesday, April 20, PS3 owners cannot log into the PlayStation Store or even get to play online.

While we are still being kept in the dark by SCEA about those involved and what is being done to restore the network in working order, we do know that Sony is being sued in a class action lawsuit over the failure to protect users identities and other sensitive data that could fall in the wrong hands. We also hear that it is possible that Sony might even offer refunds for those with PlayStation Plus subscribers as well as those who have subscriptions to play DC Universe Online.

This is a troublesome situation, to say the least, and if you feel your identity and credit card information might be in jeopardy it is the suggestion of identity theft experts to do a credit check requesting your free credit report via any of the available services such as Equifax.com, Transunion.com or Experian.com.

On that note, we would like to issue a formal apology to Bill Gates. Bill Gates continues to be the respectable man behind our beloved Xbox 360 and in no way believe he could ever mastermind such a thing against the PlayStation 3. No, we really do mean that.

We would also like to apologize to Charlie Sheen, a true acting prodigy who has fallen victim to Hollywood’s excesses. A man who loves Call of Duty: Black Ops couldn’t be a crazed, sex-addicted torpedo of self-destruction and could never be behind something like this. We apologize, Mister Sheen, and we will hold a movie marathon of your classic films in your honor.

Categories: Gaming News Flash

PLAYSTATION 3 PSN BLACKOUT

April 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Before you start wondering if you dropped your PlayStation 3 one too many times or start fiddling with your router, know that the PlayStation Network is experiencing a blackout period that has begun on Wednesday and – at the time of this writing – is still in the dark. Try to log on and you get a “PlayStation Network is under maintenance” message and, as of now, we do not have a clear reason why.

The obvious theory might be that a hacker or group of hackers are at fault but according the Sony PlayStation website the reasons aren’t specified nor is there a set date when we can log back on to play online, make purchases in the PlayStation Store or even synch or Trophies to our account.

To find out more about this, we checked in with out sources at the Daily Tabloid Times and they are pointing at two very likely sources of the PSN Blackout. Too lazy to do our own investigative reporting, we decided to go with their highly suspected candidates.

SUSPECT #1: BILL GATES

Who has something to gain by this? Well, none other than Microsoft and what evil genius is smart enough to pull something this complex is none other than Bill Gates himself. Think about it, folks. In a moment when a big PlayStation 3 title like SOCOM 4 (with a massive multiplayer mode) goes on sale you can bet that gamers will be ignoring the Xbox 360. Yes, this actually makes a lot of sense. Frustrate PS3 owners enough to consider buying an Xbox 360 sounds very likely to us.

SUSPECT #2: CHARLIE SHEEN

When we heard that Charlie Sheen likes to play Call of Duty: Black Ops online via the Xbox Live, we knew that he is another very likely suspect for the PSN Blackout. If the only online gaming he’s high on is Xbox Live then we can’t put it past him to go against the PS3 by creating the blackout using bad press. I mean, the man is a closet genius when it comes to self-destruction and just destruction in general.

Categories: Gaming News Flash

Crysis 2 – Xbox 360 Review

Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Crytek Studios
Platform: Xbox 360 (also PC and PlayStation 3)
Genre: First-Person Shooter
MSRP: $59.95 US
ESRB: Rated M
Release Date: March 22, 2011

Review By: Angelina Sandoval

If anything, the first Crysis will best be remembered around the office as a game that needed a nuclear-powered PC to play this first-person shooter to achieve the full effect of everything it had to offer shooter fans. Thankfully, EA and Crytek Studios decided to go cross-platform with the sequel and the result is Crysis 2 … a game that aims for something epic and hits its mark in the best way possible.

THE BIG APPLE BLUES

Set in the year 2024, Crysis 2 takes us away from the tropical paradise of the first game and opts for a New York City under siege by alien invaders that turn the already troubled city into a battleground as humans battle the Ceph hordes. You play Alcatraz, a tough marine who happens to be wearing the familiar Nanosuit of the first game the comes with advanced technological perks such as giving you a speed burst, the ability to jump really high, invisibility by way of cloaking and other customizable modules I’ll get into a bit later.

You’ll find that the Big Apple is a large environment with more than enough room to move around without feeling like you’re forced to stick to one small piece of an area before moving on to the next area within the campaign mode’s chapters. This is a good thing, really, since there are a number of environmental objects to play off and use to your advantage as well as hidden extras such as the speed cameras scattered throughout the city. Of course, there are buildings to navigate through, badly damaged bridges and familiar New York City landmarks.

DO NOT MESS WITH THE MARINES

While the game doesn’t give you any real background on Alcatraz, it is clear that he is the kind of Marine who deserves the right to wear the Nanosuit, which he earns quickly in the beginning of the story. On top of the options you get to unlock for the Nanosuit, there is the number of weapons you’ll have at your disposal that will give you an edge against the Ceph but also the human forces of CELL are trying to take you and the Marines down as well for reasons that make the story quite interesting.

Having human opponents as well as the alien ones add more variety to the shooting action since both opposing forces react differently during combat. In fact, the CELL forces aren’t very sharp compared to the Celph so you’ll have moments where the CELL forces won’t use cover or will sometimes run past you in search for a good spot to start attacking you. The Celph, on the other hand, makes for more formidable opponents with their exoskeleton suits and other impressive alien tech they bring to the battlefield.

There are scripted moments in the game that does drag the first part of the game down a little but once you get past that you will find yourself drawn into the convincing scenario as well as the heat of battle. Even the mini boss fights are intense and thrilling affairs that will keep you on your toes. Thankfully, the Nanosuit comes in handy as you can implement stealth in moments that require it, speed and even push your suit to the limits to withstand heavy damage or add more power to your melee attacks that you’re able to send enemies flying. Half the fun is finding ways to combine different attributes to the Nanosuit to fit your fighting style.

IF YOU CAN MAKE IT HERE …

The campaign mode clocks somewhere around 10 hours with more than enough variety to keep you glued to your seat to the very end as it adds moments where you’ll be manning a vehicle or taking pleasure in making great use to a good grenade or a rocket launcher. The story could have been better but it’s hard to complain when the action is this hot, thrilling and visually impressive.

As far as the controls are concerned, the game plays flawlessly on consoles whether you pick up the Xbox 360 version or the PlayStation 3 version. An update fixes some of the stutter the game experiences when it was released but there are still some slight hiccups and glitches that pop up but I’ve experiences nothing that will take you out of the game.

When you want to give the main story mode a break there’s always the multiplayer mode that – naturally – fixes some of the AI problems and thanks to a healthy number of players out there you will have a blast taking on and teaming up with other players. On top of the deathmatch modes and the awesome Crash Site game mode as well as Assault and Extraction. There are enhancements and extras you unlock the more you play, which gives you more of an incentive to keep playing the multiplayer mode. At the time of this writing, the multiplayer mode has been patched to run smoothly enough without much framerate stutter.

A CITY UNDER FIRE

Visually speaking, Crysis 2 looks straight up gorgeous on the Xbox 360 and having seen the PlayStation 3 version as well as the PC version I have to say that the Xbox 360 comes close to being as good as the PC version of the game. There are moments that will blow you away in terms of the visual presentation that makes the alien invasion look frightening as drop ships move into view and crazy alien tech is implemented on the battlefield. The effects are also amazing so not only do explosions look great but the damage you do to the enemy also looks spectacular.

While it won’t revolutionize the first-person shooter game, Crysis 2 stands as a title that attempts to bring gamers an outstanding shooter that doesn’t follow the same FPS formula and actually succeeds in the process. Sure, there are a few problems but they hardly distract from all the qualities that make this a riveting and spectacular game that won’t fail to keep you hooked for a long time to come. If you’ve been looking a game to give Call of Duty: Black Ops a much needed break then look no further.

GAME FRONTLINE RATING

Gameplay: A-
Graphics: A+
Sound: A+
Appeal: A
Multiplayer: A
Overall: A-

Review copy provided by Electronic Arts

Categories: Xbox 360 Review

Valentina’s Adventures in Bad Gaming – April 2011

A long while back, a friend entered me in an Xbox 360 game contest where first prize was a shiny new Xbox 360 gaming console and a gaming bundle and the second place was just a gaming bundle and – for reasons I didn’t know at the time – a certificate for some tasty burgers. My friend told me she was in the running for one of these prizes and since she was not a gamer that the prize package would be all mine.

Well, sure enough, I won second place. I never won anything in my entire life … except for some tickets to see some lame reunion for a band called Men At Work. I was excited about receiving this “gaming bundle” only to be in for the surprise of my life. Instead of expecting a Halo game or something cooler, the “gaming bundle” consisted of games created specifically for the sponsor … Burger King.

Oh yeah, the games were horrible whether it’s a “stealth” game where the object is to hand somebody a Whopper or a racing game where the karts feature that creepy King, the games were just magnificently atrocious.

I began to think that maybe I did something to piss my friend off but the truth was that my destiny was to be surrounded by bad games. And I’m not talking about those bad games with some redeemable feature or a single fun level but games so bad that you wonder if the names at the end credits have been changed so nobody would know the real named of those who worked on such a crap game.

Ah, but I won’t trade this job for anything either way.

Spider-Man 3 (PS2)

Ah, Sam Raimi, you managed to craft two brilliant comic book movies based on the Spider-Man mythos but when it came to the third film you turned Spidey into a jazz-dancing-crybaby and why oh why did you cast that annoying guy from “That 70s Show” as Venom? When it came to the games based on this sorry excuse for a movie, it’s the PS2 that got the short end of the stick in terms of quality … not that the Xbox 360 or PS3 version fared any better.

This must be Spidey's new "Grass Feet" costume

Forget the graphics that look like they were made by high school kid using his dad’s old Mac, the gameplay made swinging around this bland version of New York City feel boring enough that you’d much rather take on the even more boring story-based missions. You know a game is really boring when you have more fun exploiting the glitches. Did you know you Spidey can fly? Neither did I until a glitch send him flying across Manhattan after I landed on a car. Ah, good times!

Transformers: Rise of the Fallen (Wii)

Ok, so I was an infant when The Transformers was a cartoon entertaining kids everywhere as a 25-minute animated infomercial for the Hasbro toys so I don’t know the joys of being an older kid finally getting the chance to play as Optimus Prime in a video game. What I do know is that wish fulfillment is only good when the wish being fulfilled is actually good but Rise of the Fallen for the Nintendo Wii is not just bad but downright hurtful. Aiming alone will give you Carpel tunnel.

Game Tip #2: Pretend all the bad guys are Michael Bay

On top of the ridiculous button-mashing and wrist-flicking motions, the missions are repetitive and bland and the level design doesn’t leave much room for enjoying the fact that your Transformer can turn into a vehicle. Even my 6-year old nephew thought that his crayon pictures are better-looking than the graphics in this game. At least they left out the robot-humping mini-bot and the two “gangsta” Autobots.

Autobots, transform and roll out … of this bargain bin disaster.

 


Damnation (PS3)

Speaking of bargain bin disasters, I know Damnation was found in the bottom crevices of some bargain bin. I’m told that our Editor-in-Chief got a funny look from the sales clerk at Game Stop when he bought this dust-covered gem. I looked at the box and thought this might be some awesome western but the description led me to believe it was a steam punk action game that will revolution the genre.

If you reach this level you must really hate yourself

After two minutes of playing the game, I began to believe that it really is possible to make a game so horrible that even a bad game will look like Grand Theft Auto 4 in comparison. I will no longer speak ill of games many of the bad games I made fun of in this column in the past. I apologize to you because clearly, Damnation set out to prove that there are games that can do a lot worst than you.